Saber vs Conocer
Language Resources

If you want to translate the verb "to know" into Spanish, you have two verbs to choose from: saber and conocer. The two verbs, while both meaning "to know", have distinct meanings and uses and are therefore not interchangeable. Knowing which verb to use depends on the context and what you want to say.

Below you'll find the uses, rules and examples for both saber and conocer.

Saber

We use the verb "saber" to express "to know" in the following situations:

  • to express knowledge, or lack thereof, of information about something
    • No donde está. (I don't know where it is.)
    • Sabe la verdad. (He knows the truth.)
    • ¿Sabes cuántas estrellas hay en el cielo? (Do you know how many stars are in the sky?)
    • que no quieres ir. (I know that you don't want to go.)
  • to express knowledge, or lack thereof, of how to do something or perform a skill (saber + infinitive)
    • Sabe encontrar buenos precios. (He knows how find good prices.)
    • No sabe conducir bien. (He does not know how to drive well.)
    • cocinar como un chef. (I know how to cook like a chef.)
    • No sabemos llegar a tu casa. (We don't know how to get to your house.)
  • to express that one knows, or doesn't know, something thoroughly
    • Sabe todas las reglas de ser y estar. (He knows all of the rules for ser and estar.)
    • todo el alfabeto en español. (I know the whole alphabet in Spanish.)

Conocer

We use the verb "conocer" to express "I know" in the following situations:

  • to express familiarity with a person, place, or object
    • Conozco muy bien este barrio. (I know this neighborhood really well.)
    • ¿Conoces a mi hermana? (Do you know my sister?)
    • Nos conocemos desde siempre. (We have known each other forever.)
    • Conoce la filosofía alemana. (He is familiar with German philosophy.)